McAuliffe inauguration flush with coal cash

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

After winning the Virginia governor’s race with the help of environmental groups, Democrat Terry McAuliffe is now taking donations from coal companies to fund his inauguration.

These would be the very same coal companies that supported his Republican opponent in the election.

According to Virginia campaign finance reports, the Terry McAuliffe Inaugural Committee received $25,000 from the coal company Alpha Natural Resources and $50,000 from the Virginia-based Dominion Resources, which deals in coal, natural gas and nuclear power.

Both of these companies donated to Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign for governorship as well. Alpha Natural Resources donated $92,500 to Cuccinelli’s campaign and Dominion Resources gave $50,000 to the Republican candidate.

However, liberal ThinkProgress notes that both of these companies also donated to McAuliffe’s campaign, though to a much lesser extent. “During the case, McAuliffe received $60,000 from Dominion and just $10,000 from Alpha,” ThinkProgress reports.

Environmentalists, however, seem unphased by this news.

“What’s surprising about a special interest trying to curry favor with a new governor?” League of Conservation Voters spokesperson Jeff Gohringer told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.

“Terry McAuliffe stood up for environmental priorities in the campaign, and we are confident he’ll do so as Governor,” Gohringer added. “We’re especially proud that the Executive Director of our Virginia state league has been chosen to be part of Gov.-Elect McAuliffe’s transition team.”

The League of Conservation Voters was one of McAuliffe’s biggest donors, giving $1.7 million to the Democrat’s campaign. The League also mobilized volunteers to knock on 100,000 doors in the Richmond area and 300,000 across the state.

Environmentalists pumped $3.8 million into the McAuliffe campaign, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, and spent millions more on media and other activities trying to paint Cuccinelli as a climate denier and anti-environment.

The Virginia gubernatorial race may have not been decided on energy and environment issues, but they certainly played a role. Both candidates expressed support for offshore drilling, but the defining difference was McAuliffe’s support for green energy development and for federal carbon dioxide regulations.

Cuccinelli has been a vocal opponent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations, especially the agency’s recent proposal to regulate carbon emissions from coal plants. Cuccinelli argued that such rules would harm working families and businesses in the Virginia’s coal regions.

McAuliffe defeated Cuccinelli in Virginia’s election last month by a 47 percent to 45 percent margin.

“Despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million, this race came down to the wire because of Obamacare,” Cuccinelli said in his concession speech on election night. “That message will go out to the entire country tonight.”

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